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18 June, 2024
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Cyprus dips toe into euthanasia debate

New effort launched to tackle controversial issue that touches on human rights, religion, and law


Euthanasia in the Republic of Cyprus is forbidden by law but two women in parliament are more than ready to discuss the taboo of painless killing, a practice viewed by the Church as suicide or even murder.

AKEL MP Irene Charalambides says it is time for parliament to open discussion on euthanasia, which she described as a hard subject from both a legal and an emotional viewpoint.

Charalambides, who chairs the House Institutions committee, is pushing for a discussion on the controversial issue that has been a taboo in both society and politics for decades.

“Societies must keep evolving,” the MP told daily Politis.

But progressives in the House are up against a strong opponent on the island, the Church of Cyprus that exerts huge influence on society and politics.

But progressives are up against a strong opponent that exerts huge influence on the island, the Church of Cyprus which views euthanasia as either suicide or even murder

Paphos Bishop Georgios says the Church is diametrically opposed to euthanasia.

According to daily Politis, Georgios said “the church ascribes life to God, not man.”

“When someone’s life becomes insufferable, that person can ask God to take his or her life, but under no circumstances can individuals decide on their own if they should live or not,” the bishop said.

But the chairwoman is not alone, as newly-elected Green party MP Alexandra Attalides has joined forces in an effort to jumpstart social dialogue in Cyprus.

Attalides said there is pressing need to discuss many topics that relate to euthanasia, with the MP also calling on more light to be shed and more information to be shared on the controversial issue.

But the church insists it cannot accept euthanasia, with Georgios going as far as to say that passive euthanasia is suicide and active euthanasia is murder.

Earlier this month, Attalides said there were many issues that need to be examined and brought to light with the help of stakeholders and experts.

“There are issues that touch not only on health but also on how people live,” she said two weeks ago, adding that “conventions on human rights point out that no person should be subjected to pain and suffering.”

The House institutions committee members have been invited by Cyprus Bar Association president Christos Clerides to attend in December a conference on euthanasia and the environment.

“As the year 2022 begins we aim to implement our goal, which is the strengthening of rule of law through safeguarding human rights, legislation proposals, and even lobbying the government to draft bills on these issues,” Clerides said.

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